Thursday, June 07, 2012

Destruction of a National Library

This is a repost from the Tyee June 06, 2012

Wrecking of Canada's Library and Archives

by Myron Groover

The ongoing cuts and changes to service delivery at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) continue to be a source of consternation for Canada's archival community and to the users of Canada's documentary heritage. It's quite easy to get carried away on a tide of outrage around these issues, though, and so I present here a brief summary of the proposed changes themselves so readers can have an idea what's going on.

A partial list of the IMPACTS are listed here:

1. Hours and services for on-site reference are being cut to six hours a day (weekdays only); reference services will no longer be available without a formal appointment.

2. One out of five positions to be axed. Four hundred and fifty staff have been presented with "affected" notices announcing they will effectively need to re-apply for their own positions; of these, 215 will be eliminated. This amounts to around 1/5 of LAC's total workforce.,/p>

These cuts include:

Twenty-one of 61 archivists dealing with non-governmental records will be eliminated;

Fifty per cent of digitization staff will be eliminated;

Fifty per cent of circulation staff for analog holdings will be eliminated;

Thirty per cent of cataloguing librarians will be eliminated;

Thirty per cent of library technicians working in collection development will be eliminated;

The professionals previously responsible for loans and exhibitions, microfilm preservation and imaging, digital preservation, preservation registry, textual and visual conservation, multicultural publications, and rare/out-of-print publications will be fired; the archivist positions responsible for cartography, moving images and sound, aboriginal treaties and affairs, art and photo archives, and the multicultural portfolio are already vacant.

Staff dealing with preservation and conservation of documents will see "significant" reduction.

3. Interlibrary loans will be completely eliminated by February 2013, meaning that LAC's services as library of record for all books published in Canada will only be available on-site in Ottawa.

4. A new "whole of society model," developed in secret and without any apparent public oversight or input, will be used to guide (and partly automate) archival holdings and acquisitions.

full article availabe at:Wrecking of Canada's Library and Archives


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